Penn Station franchise owners have a new weapon to rely on to help boost their bottom line with technology.
The award-winning fast-casual franchise, known for its grilled, made-to-order sub sandwiches, hand-squeezed lemonade, and fresh-cut fries, continues its quest to refine operations with the notable addition of Tyler Kraemer as Director of Franchise Services.
Kraemer, who most recently was Director of Operations services for GSR Brands, is no stranger to Penn Station, serving as corporate training restaurant General Manager with the brand from 2012 to 2014. In this newly created role, Kraemer leads the team’s support in wide-ranging ways on the tech side – from store operations and reporting to IT vendor relationships and maintaining the POS systems and IT training. We went straight to the source to learn more about how Kraemer is uniquely working to help meet the IT needs of franchisees.
As director of franchise services, you essentially serve as the liaison between franchisees and Penn Station’s technology partners. Can you explain what your role is as a liaison?
Kraemer: My charge when I arrived was to first connect with our technology vendor partners, franchisees, and internal team to understand their role, current state of business, past challenges, and opportunities. My role as a liaison to the different stakeholders has really allowed us to start having a meaningful conversation about how to approach technology holistically across operations and marketing and, ultimately, how it impacts our restaurants, management, and front-line team members.
Any plans to implement new technology?
Kraemer: After spending time understanding the business objectives and challenges with stakeholders, I spent a significant amount of time in 2022 in the discovery phase looking at countless tech stack solutions to meet our business needs. I am excited to say that 2023 will be a busy year implementing our technology solutions, including a powerful API Middleware, guest engagement tools, and enhancements to our Web Ordering, Inventory Management, and our Labor Management components.
How are you ensuring Penn Station franchisees have a more personal connection to improve operations rather than the set-it-and-forget mode we often see in franchising?
Kraemer: With our ratio of one representative for every 22 locations and frequent visits by our Regional Franchise Consultants and Area Representatives, we believe we do an incredible job partnering with our franchisees when it comes to day-to-day operations and meeting business objectives. Where my role becomes unique is that I can focus on a very specific and growing part of the business and work with the franchisee one-on-one to find the best technical solutions and opportunities for their restaurant locations. I recently worked with a franchisee who had made tremendous strides in operations and was ready to take on additional sales. We worked together to maximize one of our catering channels, add another catering channel and add two additional delivery services.
How important is it for franchisees to have this type of support and competitive edge from their franchisor?
Kraemer: At Penn Station, we feel our purpose is to help franchisees maximize their return on investment. While we can’t run their business, we can share best practices to assist in their pursuit to make their business as successful as possible. In my role, I explore and validate many of the new tech-driven channels to connect with the customer to increase sales for our franchisees. If we can connect with the customers, wherever they are and increase the flow of customers to the store digitally, our franchisees will have a noticeable edge over our competition.
What does the future hold for Penn Station and its franchisees?
Kraemer: The future is bright for our brand and franchisees. We have been making significant investments in people and technology at HQ to support our aggressive growth plans over the next several years and help our current franchisees build sales and improve profitability and efficiencies in operations.
With more than 315 locations in 15 states, Penn Station shows no signs of slowing down, with plenty of prime territories available for the right franchise partners. To explore your opportunity to expand with a proven brand, head to penn-station.com/franchise.
Penn Station East Coast Subs
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